Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Uncovering my biological grandfather

I have written about my mother’s illegitimate birth back in July of 2013 in the previous post titled My Mother’s Secret.

I have been using DNA testing in the hopes of finding my biological maternal grandfather. Having half-siblings has made uncovering my grandfather a little easier since matches between me and my half-siblings must be my mother’s side. My mother was left a young widow with 6 children. She remarried and I am the youngest from the second husband. Thus I have tested two of my half siblings, one full sister along with my test has aided in figuring out who my biological grandfather is.

Along this journey, I have found some clues in my matches. In August of 2016 I wrote about some of my common matches in a post titled DNA Matches.

Of the common ancestors, my closest possible ancestors appeared to be the possibility that my 3rd great-grandparents are Peter Pedelty and Mary Alderson. I theorized that one of their great-grandsons was a good candidate for being my maternal grandfather. Thus, this started my journey of researching the descendants of Peter and Mary.

It wasn’t until two key relatives finally did their DNA test and they showed up in my matches. Actually they showed up better in my half-brother matches as his 2nd cousin matches. 

The first match, we will call Hiltz based on my grandmother’s maiden name was a known cousin of my mother through her mother. It’s wonderful to have a known close relative who tested. 

The other match, we will call Pedelty was an unknown cousin that appeared to be through my maternal grandfather’s side of the family, her tree left off where my Pedelty tree began.

I have been reading that 2nd cousins who share a common ancestor should match each other. I ran the “shared matches” option through AncestryDNA and they did not match each other. They did match each of my siblings and thus I knew this had to be a match on my mother’s side. I also noticed that the Hiltz match was matching my Hiltz relatives while the Pedelty match was matching some of Peter and Mary’s descendants along with some new matches. Again, since I knew the one match was my maternal grandmother’s side, the other match only left my maternal grandfather’s side. Along with the tree that left off where my Pedelty tree began, I started to look at the man that was her great grandfather. 

I also noticed that the Pedelty match, in-spite of being in the same category as the Hiltz match, Pedelty has about 1/2 of the shared centimorgans and DNA segments. Plus my Family Tree Maker genealogy program shows my Hiltz match as 1st Cousin 1x removed while my Pedelty match as Half 1st Cousin because she descends from the possible half sister of my mother. Which would explain the difference in centimorgans and DNA segments. 

For my theory to be valid, I needed to look at the parents of this man. His mother descends from Peter and Mary and thus I looked at his father, John Tyler. John’s parent’s George and Sarah had at least 10 children. One of their daughters, Mary Margaret married a man named George Platts. I have several of their descendants on my shared DNA matches list. They also match my Pedelty match.

Thus my breakthrough was only possible because of two cousins, all on their own, without knowing that I have been waiting for this day, decided to have their DNA tested at AncestryDNA. I look forward to sharing this wonderful discovering with my siblings and we can finally put a rest on who is the man who fathered my mother. 

Please note: I have kept the name of my grandfather off this post because I am unsure how much if any information his descendants know of the illegitimate birth of my mother. Since I only discovered this about 5 years ago, I can only surmise that they too have no knowledge of this information. He is in my tree that is attached to my DNA test and I guess I will let the discovery come out slowly.

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